A Tribute to Lawrence Matz

Lawrence with his wife, GloriaOur dear friend, Lawence Matz, sadly lost his struggle with Pulmonary Fibrosis in the early hours of Wednesday, 17th August 2011.

A month ago, we had asked him to provide us with an article, ‘A Day In The Life Of Lawrence Matz’ for our summer newsletter and, as a sincere tribute to Lawrence and all that he did for Breathing Matters, we attach his story here. 

My name is Lawrence Matz and I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in October 2009. Since then, I also now have Scleroderma, Pulmonary Hypertension and Sleep Apnoea.

I was quite stable for the first 15 months, but this year I’ve gone rapidly downhill.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family, especially my wife Gloria, and the most amazing friends.  My fantastic Consultant, Dr Joanna Porter, who is now also my friend, has also made this journey easier to deal with.

A typical day for me at the moment would be to get up about 7.30am and head off to the bathroom to shave and brush my teeth….that takes a lot out of me even though I’m on oxygen 24/7. Then it’s into the shower. Gloria won’t allow me to go alone and she washes and dries me and then helps me to get dressed … sounds fun, but I wish I could do it alone … if you know what I mean.  All this, even though assisted, knocks the stuffing out of me and my sats can go down to about 65 even with the oxygen …not easy!

I then go down to my car with my portable oxygen tank and at least one spare (again, if I’m feeling too breathless, Gloria will come down with me).  The lift is right outside my door and it takes me to the underground car park where my car is in the closest bay to the door.  I’m always breathing a lot heavier by this time but, once I’m 10 minutes into my journey, my sats come back up to about 93-96.

I only work about 3 days a week at the moment.  I am usually at the hospital for some test or another one day a week.  I try and relax on the other days.  I also still try and play golf once a week in my buggy with oxygen attached … the oxygen only comes off for the shot and then it’s straight back on.  I still go out for dinner or lunch a couple of times a week as that is one of my great pleasures.

Daily life is very frustrating at the moment, but my attitude is ‘onwards and upwards‘ – one has to be positive.  Between Gloria and Dr Jo, I’m in wonderful hands and they certainly help me to keep positive.

Next week, I’m off to Papworth for a lung transplant assessment as that’s my only hope of survival … I’m staying focused and positive, and maybe the next time you hear from me, I’ll be running a mini marathon …

Sadly, this was not to be.    Lawrence was accepted on to the lung transplant list, but a donor lung was not available in time.

We will miss you, Lawrence. 

12 thoughts on "A Tribute to Lawrence Matz"

  1. This just shows how Lawrence always remained positive, strong and brave. A true inspiration. He was more than just my special father in law & “ffil”, he was my confidant and friend. We had a unique bond and I feel blessed to have had him in my life. We always joked how he would one day run a marathon “powered by transplanted lungs” and how I wish this came true. You went too soon. I miss you ffil and forever will x

  2. My uncle lolly – he was so brave and determined to get better. Sadly this wasnt to happen, he never moaned or complained and still lived life to the full as much as was possible for him. The amount of people who came to his funeral and showed us all support this past week showed and proved to everyone what an amazing, charming, funny, handsome and caring man he was. He was simple the best but is now at peace. lolly we will miss you always xxxxx

  3. ‘Onwards and upwards’ – what an inspiration to all sufferers of any disease …….. Lawrence Matz was amazing and he will live on in the hearts of those who knew him

  4. LAwrence Matz was a legend. Never complained, never asked for anything – we all hope he is at peace and in a better place.
    We miss him so much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. I don’t understand why my Lawrence, such a powerful
    & vibrant man in every way, with such an incredible zest
    for life could get this shocking disease, that took so long to diagnose. He touched the lives of so many with his warmth, humour & compassion. His positive attitude
    courage & bravery will be remembered forever. He will always be a part of my heart and soul & my love will be everlasting.

  6. This brave man was my brother,I will miss him terribly. Good luck to all those waiting for transplants.

  7. I am so deeply saddened by the passing of dear dear Lawrence. I had the pleasure of spending time with him and Gloria whenever they came to visit Ruth and Avi in Florida. He was such an upbeat energetic guy.So it was hard to believe that he had been dealt the hand he got. But watching him deal with his lot with dignity and strength was a testament to the power of positive thinking and the belief that there could be a better tomorrow. So not getting his transplant in time was a real cheat to everyone. He will be sadly missed and I have wonderful photos that I will look at from time to time. My heart goes out to Gloria who stood by her man so determined that he would some how be allowed to live another day. So to Gloria I pray for your continued strength to carry on. With your wonderful friends and family I am certain that you will be loved and cared for.

  8. I send my sincere condolences to Lawrence’s family. I never met Lawrence but conversed on line as part of the PF yahoo group – his outlook was always so positive. He will be missed by us all.

  9. My mother passed away in April, 2011; she had pulmonary fibrosis. Although she was diagnosed four years earlier, in the very end she declined rapidly, in only 11 days, a shock to the family but a blessing for her as she was elderly and getting weaker. Hopefully, a cure will be found for IPF soon. My condolences to Mr. Matz’s family and blessings to all who are living with IPF.

  10. Out of the blue, I had contacted Lawrence after reading an article about his illness in a UK paper. My father was at the time suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis and was very ill and his only possible lifesaver was a lung transplant but tragically he could not breathe without a respirator so would never have been allowed to go on the journey to the States to receive the treatment. I just wanted to let Lawrence know that maybe if he could plan that operation before his illness would not permit him to travel or before he deteriorated too far down the line to be fit to have it he should try and do it. Sadly that was not the case and my thoughts are with his family. We have to fight for a cure for this painful disease.

  11. Lawrence was a friend in a million, trustworthy, loyal, and a true inspiration.
    Both Nani and I like many others Loved Lawrence, and will forever miss his unique and special gift of giving and loving life.
    Dobsey x

  12. Lawrence
    You told me some many wise truths & interesing anecdotes
    That will stay with me till my days


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